Labelling beef: meat industry not happy with non-meat product names

Friday, 18 June, 2021

Labelling beef: meat industry not happy with non-meat product names

In response to the Australian red meat industry’s beef with non-meat branding terms, such as “meat-free mince”, “sausage made with plants” and “vegan bacon”, the Queensland Senator, Susan McDonald, has launched a Senate Inquiry into food labelling laws.

She said it was up to makers of non-meat products to come up with their own distinct terms instead of trading off long-established names of animal proteins.

“Just like winemakers wanting exclusive use of some wine names, I feel strongly that our Aussie red meat industry should have sole use of product names that have meant only one thing for centuries.”

Red Meat Advisory Council Chairman John McKillop said graziers had had enough.

“It is a national disgrace that highly processed plant-based protein made from imported ingredients is allowed to be labelled as Australian meat,” he said.

“The brand and reputation of natural beef, lamb and goat has been built over generations and is now being denigrated by companies that are deliberately trying to use piggyback marketing to sell an inferior product.

“The Australian red meat and livestock industry strongly welcome the announcement of a parliamentary inquiry into meat category branding,” McKillop said.

The Australian Meat Industry Council (AMIC) CEO, Patrick Hutchinson, also welcomed the announcement and said he looks forward to participating in the Senate Inquiry into food labelling laws.

“We are keen to ensure our interests are represented in so far as to ensure that labelling of manufactured plant proteins does not constitute a point of confusion for consumers, and that only genuine meat products are labelled as such,” Hutchinson said.

“Further, we are pleased that the inquiry will review in detail the health implications of heavily processed plant proteins, as well as the long-term social and economic impairments caused by these types of products on businesses, livestock producers and individuals across regional, rural and remote Australia.”

The alternative protein market is a growing industry that has responded to consumer demands. According to CSIRO research, the total demand and environmental saving associated with alternative protein sources is expected to reach $12 billion by 2030 at around 5% per annum growth. This sector is reportedly not happy with the narrative being used in the lead-up to this inquiry.

According to McDonald’s statement, the inquiry will investigate the economic effects of non-animal protein marketing on Australia’s red meat industry, the legality of using livestock imagery on vegan products and the health benefits of non-animal protein manufacturing processes. The labelling laws will then need to be developed by FSANZ.

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